An Overview of the 20th Century
20th Century Chronology
Decade by decade review of the twentieth century, including fabulous interactive quizzes.
From 1920 to 1990 we list all of the craziest fads that have come and gone. Go back a few decades and read about the silly to serious fads that helped change our society and create a pop-culture.
The Dust Bowl
Ken Burns film which chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, in which the frenzied wheat boom of the “Great Plow-Up,” followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. Vivid interviews with twenty-six survivors of those hard times, combined with dramatic photographs and seldom seen movie footage, bring to life stories of incredible human suffering and equally incredible human perseverance. It is also a morality tale about our relationship to the land that sustains us—a lesson we ignore at our peril.
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
Jim Crow was not a person, yet affected the lives of millions of people. Named after a popular 19th-century minstrel song that stereotyped African Americans, “Jim Crow” came to personify the system of government-sanctioned racial oppression and segregation in the United States. PBS.
1900 – 1949
A series of notebooks about growing up in rural America during the early 1900’s. Written for the young reader.
In the early years of the 20th century, children as young as eight years old worked in the coal mines. The work was hard and the “little boys” grew old and stooped before their time.
The RMS Titanic has salvage rights, and here they answer questions often asked about the sinking of the “unsinkable” liner, the Titanic. Be sure to take the dive down to the ship in the “Return to the Deep section of the site.
Perfessor Bill Edwards’ Ragtime Era Nostalgia
Interesting people, advertising art, tales of Christmas past, and inventions. Unfortunately, not all the internal links work, but those do.
The Roaring Twenties
The 1920s era went by such names as the Jazz Age, the Age of Intolerance, and the Age of Wonderful Nonsense. Under any moniker, the era embodied the beginning of modern America.
Games of the Coal Camp Children
Games played an important part in coal camp life in the 1920s and 1930s. Most of the families of Utah coal miners were poor. Their children had few “store-bought” games or toys. Through imagination, the children made the best of what they had.
Dear Daddy: The Farm Letters
In her 80s, Martha Linsley bought a small typewriter and began to transcribe the hundreds of letters she, her children, and her husband James wrote to one another from June, 1932, to August, 1934. Their correspondence may very well comprise the most extensive written insight into the day-to-day lives of a family dealing with the challenges of the Great Depression.
Picturing the 1930s
This Smithsonian site allows you to explore the 1930s through paintings, artist memorabilia, historical documents, newsreels, period photographs, music and video in a virtual, 3-D movie theater with rooms that feature the topics, “American People,” “City Life,” “Labor,” “Industry,” “Leisure,” “The City,” “The Country” and “Nature.” The site, which was developed for eighth and 11th graders studying American history, provides opportunities for students to more fully employ the use of primary source documents.
World War II
Starring: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett
Rent or buy the movie. Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)
Recreation of Pearl Harbor and the harrowing wartime aftermath.
Remembering Pearl Harbor @ nationalgeographic.com
Multimedia Map and Time Line: Photos, footage, firsthand accounts, and narration bring the attack to life-moment by moment, target by target.
Anne Frank: Lessons in Human Rights and Dignity
The powerful writings of a teenager from the darkness of her hiding place during the Holocaust can teach us much about making a difference for the 21st century.
WarMuseum.ca – Armoured Warrior
Two miles to the gallon. Seats five uncomfortably. No cup holders. Are you ready for an adventure — in a tank?
1950 – 1999
A trip into the era of your parents’ childhood. Listen to their favorite tunes, check out what they watched on TV!
National Civil Rights Museum Virtual Tour
The 50s and 60s was a time of struggle for American blacks to gain the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
The Freedom Riders, Then and Now
Fighting racial segregation in the South, these activists were beaten and arrested. Where are they now, nearly fifty years later? From the Smithsonian.
British Invasion at 50: An A (Animals) to Z (Zombies) guide to the bands who rocked the world
Their music and fashions invaded the US in the 1960s. Meet The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Hollies and The Yardbirds.
Technology at Home
This activity lets you go back through the century to find out when everyday items we are so used to first appeared in homes. (1900 – 1998)
The September 11 Digital Archive
Advanced. Some of the photos and stories may be disturbing to young children and sensitive souls. This is huge archive, and a good place to start looking for information about what happened that day.